Neutron Star Collision detected by LIGO and Virgo for First Time. It shows Origin of Gold

By | December 16, 2019


For the first time, scientists have directly
detected gravitational waves—ripples in space and time—in addition to light from
the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. This marks the first time that a cosmic event
has been viewed in both gravitational waves and light. The discovery was made using the U.S.-based
LIGO, the Europe-based Virgo detector; and some 70 ground- and space-based observatories. For the first time, Astronomers have detected a single cosmic Cataclysm in both gravitational waves ripples in space-time itself and electromagnetic waves what we typically call light. This hugely collaborative effort includes the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave Observatories along with a multitude of telescopes in space and on earth that together collectively monitor the full spectrum of light. The spectacular event was produced by the collision and merger of two neutron stars. These objects are the burnt-out remains of giant stars that have exploded as supernovae they leave behind cores of exotic matter composed primarily of neutrons crushed together under the intense pull of gravity more mass than our Sun is compressed into a sphere that is about the size of a city. Astronomers have long known that neutron stars are found in pairs orbiting one another. The theory of relativity predicts that the motions of these incredibly massive objects should generate gravitational waves these waves would drain energy from the orbiting bodies causing them to slowly spiral together and eventually collide with each other in a spectacular explosion. On August 17th 2017 a gravitational wave chirp was recorded by the National Science foundation-funded LIGO observatories and less than two seconds later a short burst of gamma rays a high-energy form of light was detected by NASA’s Fermi telescope researchers quickly realize these two fundamentally different types of ways could have come from a single neutron star merger if so it was critical to identify exactly where this had taken place in the sky and if the explosion could be seen by other telescopes the Fermi data indicated the bursts came somewhere from a patch of sky covering about 1200 square degrees an area equivalent to six thousand four moons adding information from an independent gamma-ray detection from the integral satellite the search area was further reduced the LIGO observatories place the source somewhere in long narrow strips of the sky one of which overlapped with a target patch the Virgo gravitational wave Observatory in Italy working in conjunction with LIGO should easily have been able to detect the signal of the strength but saw almost nothing this was an important piece of the puzzle since any gravitational wave observatory has a small number of blind spots where it cannot detect the incoming signal restricting the source location of virgos blind spots further narrow in the search area down to approximately twenty eight square degrees or 144 moons around 50 candidate galaxies were identified in this area for follow-up observations using optical telescopes less than 11 hours after the first detection z’ astronomers using the carnegie Swope telescope identified a previously unseen blip of light in the outer reaches of the galaxy named NGC for 993 several independent confirmations will report it from other telescopes over the next hour the first-ever optical counterpart to a gravitational wave event had been found knowing exactly where to look astronomers began an unprecedented campaign of follow-up observations using more than 70 telescopes around the world in the space during the course of the next two weeks a neutron star merger was detected across the entire electromagnetic spectrum the gravitational wave data have for the first time provided a direct measurement for the masses and orbits of a neutron star pair before their collision and merging the data also enabled ongoing follow-up observations across the electromagnetic spectrum characterizing the explosion and revealing how such unimaginable events have played a formative role in shaping the world around us these results for the first time confirm that neutron star mergers create precious elements like gold and platinum as well as a host of other heavy elements all across the periodic table explosions like these through our cosmic history have seeded the universe with the materials that later will form new stars new planets and beings like ourselves who look up and wonder

One thought on “Neutron Star Collision detected by LIGO and Virgo for First Time. It shows Origin of Gold

  1. Nick Pitruzzello Post author

    If gravitational wave was detected prior to gamma wave, then does this mean that faster than light travel is possible?

    Reply

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